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The automotive industry has a history of producing truly weird trucks and other vehicles. And in terms of weirdness, nobody did it better than General Motors in the mid-2000s. If you look back at GM’s catalog from this era, you might be wondering what the brand was thinking, and you’re not alone. One model particularly sticks out, and that is the Chevy SSR pickup truck. A vehicle that might be the worst truck of all time. 

Why did the Chevy SSR fail?

The SSR was a Chevy truck that was a true failure, managing to sell only about 24,000 units. It was probably a flop due to its odd styling and lack of utility. As a pickup, the SSR is based on Chevy trucks from the 1940s and 1950s. And while that sounds like a cool idea, it wound up being a vehicle that is not all that attractive. 

The Chevy SSR was built between 2003 and 2006, and it had a starting price of above $40,000. That’s a fairly big ask for a truck that only has two doors and is not meant for job sites. In the video above, you can get a detailed SSR review by Doug DeMuro. 

The SSR is a truck not meant for truck stuff

At a glance, you can tell the Chevy SSR is not your typical truck. It has curvy lines, can only tow about 2,500 pounds, and it’s a convertible. That’s right, in the early 2000s, GM was crazy enough to approve a truck that could have its roof stowed away. 

The front of a Chevy SSR, perhaps the worst truck Chevy has ever built.
Chevy SSR | William Thomas Cain via Getty Images

According to Slash Gear, the SSR initially had a 5.3-liter V8. So, if you want a V8 truck, it does check that box. But apparently, 300 horsepower was not enough for Chevy, and the brand took it one step further. 

In 2005, the SSR truck got the LS2 engine that was found in the Chevy Corvette. That engine makes 390 hp and reportedly had a 0 to 60 mph time of under 5.5 seconds. That makes this weird pickup a true performance truck. 

Does the Chevy SSR have a manual transmission?

Even with the massive LS2 V8 engine, you could get the SSR pickup truck with a six-speed manual transmission. Because of that, I would say this quirky GM product does have some enthusiast cred. Even though you could row your own gears, most SSR models came equipped with either the 4L60-E automatic transmission or the 4L65-E autobox. 

A yellow Chevy SSR pickup truck with flames on its side.
Chevy SSR | Bull-Doser

In terms of options, Chevy did not offer much. SSRs came fairly well-equipped as standard, so that does make sense. Another interesting fact about this Chevy truck is the fact that it operated as a pace car for the 2003 Indianapolis 500. So, this pickup does have some track experience. 

But, at the end of the day, the Chevy SSR was everything but successful. By 2006, GM announced that it would be closing the Craft Center where this vehicle was built. And that is a sad ending to what might be the worst truck, even if it was interesting.

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